Center leader: Prime minister ended coalition some time ago
Kaja Kallas called me a few minutes before issuing the press release on the dissolution of the cabinet, while the premiere was clear in her intent a few weeks ago, Center Party chairman Jüri Ratas told ERR.
Did Kaja Kallas' decision take you by surprise?
Kaja Kallas ended this coalition some weeks ago. I was not aware of her decision to announce the end of the cabinet today. True, she called me two minutes before the press release was sent, I believe. Well, I believe that if a government falls, it should fall by the prime minister resigning as well ands delegating decisions to the Riigikogu.
Is it theoretically possible that Kallas will simply replace your ministers with people from other parties?
It is difficult for me to say what Reform finds theoretically possible. The board of the Center Party will convene to discuss our next moves based on this information this evening. But it is clear that subsistence, child and family benefits – it seems none of it was acceptable for the Reform Party.
I'm sure you have been in touch with Isamaa leader Helir-Valdor Seeder and EKRE chair Martin Helme. Will the previous coalition rise from the ashes?
I cannot say anything in terms of its likelihood. I have been in touch with politicians from all parties.
What will be your next steps?
The board will have to discuss the situation this evening. I would like to say a big thank you, live on Vikerraadio, to the Center Party's seven ministers who have done their work seriously and with heart in very difficult conditions.
Are you disappointed that it proved impossible to keep the coalition together and that the Reform Part is taking the initiative in seeking to form a new coalition?
I believe that disappointment is useless in politics. Politics is about being in the coalition today and the opposition tomorrow. Kaja Kallas said she would end the coalition and resign back when the family benefits bill was introduced. Even though she has now excluded Center ministers but not herself.
Kallas said in a press release that she cannot work with ministers who do not have NATO secrets clearance, that only Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets and Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani do.
Kaja Kallas has been working with all of them for the last five months. Sixteen months to be precise. That is hardly a valid reason. I know some of our ministers are in the process of getting that clearance.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski